Into Thin Air Questions and Answers
by Jon Krakauer

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What are some exmaples of irony in the article "Into Thin Air" by John Karkauer?

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currerbell eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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A good example of irony can be found in Chapter 4. Here, it is ironic that the sherpa, and NOT one of the climbers, is the one who becomes injured. The realization that no one is immune to danger on the mountain. 

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yamaguchit | Student

Into Thin Air is one of my favorite novels of all time because it not only tells a tremendously triumphant story, it also presents a man on a dedicated and well told mission. Every year, a certain amount of mountain climbers dedicate their time, money, and effort to training for Mt. Everest. The tallest mountain in the world, one would imagine it would take years of training to begin even thinking of attempting to climb it. Lives have been lost, climbers have frozen on the way to the top, and the summit has only seen a small amount of climbers to actually reach. With all this being said, John Krakauer is at his best in this novel.

As for irony in this book goes, there was one specific moment that Krakauer mentioned that could certainly be seen as irony. Throughout the journey that he tells through this book, we understand that he is not alone on his climb up or on his decline down the mountain. He encounters freezing nights, scarcity of oxygen, and potential death zones that all contribute to the craziness of his journey. However, when him and his partner are holding on to dear life on this hanging rope, irony can be seen. Although through the duration of the journey they are quite close and become strong climbing partners, there comes a time when only one of them will be able to continue on. It was either John or the partner. When the rope is cut, and Krakauer is able to continue on up the mountain, we see a very sad moment of irony.